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Issue 482, 20 May 2002

Premier visit to Leeds

Prime minister of Namibia Hage Geingob recently came to Leeds in his professional capacity – although he's more accustomed to attending the University as a student. A former SWAPO freedom fighter, Hage Geingob is studying for a doctorate at Leeds, and was invited to attend a conference on peasants, liberation and socialism in Africa, organised by the centre for African studies.

"I think all prime ministers should study," Hage Geingob said. "Academic work is about theory, and ideas, and poiticians have to deal with practicalities. But practice without theory is dangerous – a good leader needs to combine them both. One problem in Africa is that many leaders aren't well enough informed about the issues and crises we face."

Despite the pressures of his position, Hage Geingob still manages to find time to study. "You can always make time," he said. "I don't smoke, or go out dancing and drinking. Because of security issues, I have to spend a lot of time under guard at home. I call it my 'prison," he joked, "and in my prison, I use the time to study."

An avid football supporter, Hage Geingob has been following the fortunes of Leeds United since beginning his doctorate at the University. The World Cup is likely to distract him momentarily from his studies – he's just accepted an invitation to attend. But with five African teams still in the competition, he wasn't giving any clues as to who he'd be supporting.

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